KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jordan Washington scored the game-winning basket as time expired to give No. 2-seeded Talladega (Ala.) a 63-61 win over No. 7-seeded Westmont (Calif.) in the first round of the 2016 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. The Tornadoes will take on No. 6-seeded Cumberlands (Ky.) on Friday, March 18 at 9:00 a.m.
Nigel Jones led the way for Talladega with 20 points and 11 rebounds, one of two Tornadoes to record a double-double. Jamarquis Jones tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Qua Doster tossed in 15 points and Washington finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Washington drove into the heart of Westmont defense and hit a double-pump scoop shot from the left block for the last of the game’s eight lead changes. The final possession was set up after the Warriors’ Sean McDonnell hit one of two free throws with four seconds remaining, drawing a foul on an offensive rebound following a missed jump shot by Britton Williams.
A back-and-forth second half was tied with 1:17 remaining after a bucket in the paint by the Warriors’ Cory Blau. Doster gave the Tornadoes’ back the lead on the next possession, before Gerald Karczewski hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining. Washington drove to the basket and put Talladega back up by one point with 15 seconds to play prior to the McDonnell free throw.
Talladega opened the game with a 11-2 at the 13:41 mark, its biggest lead of the game, but Westmont stormed back with a 16-0 run to take a 18-11 lead at the 7:56 mark. Each teams held leads late in the opening frame before Westmont took a 33-31 lead into intermission.
Talladega shot 44.2 percent from the field (23 of 52) and converted 11 of 14 free throws, while Westmont finished with a 22 of 51 shooting clip (.431), but made just eight of 20 from the charity stripe.
Blau led the way for the Warriors with 19 points, while McDonnell added 15 points and six rebounds.
Westmont finishes its season with a record of 21-11.